Monday, December 11, 2023

Freight trains examined by 'Last Week Tonight'

After being disappointed by 'SNL' tries to turn a week of unfunny news into comedy and gets saved by Adam Driver and Olivia Rodrigo, I didn't have high expectations for Freight Trains: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), but I was happy to be wrong.

John Oliver discusses freight trains and railroads, how they’ve put profits over safety, and, crucially, what shows he watched as a child that explain…everything.
On the one hand, I'm glad John Oliver pointed out that freight trains are good for the environment in terms of fuel use, air pollution, and climate, producing only 2% of transportation emissions while hauling 28% of the country's freight. It's also safer in terms of accidents than trucking (and certainly safer than driving in general). These are the kind of statistics I can tell my students, which means today is a good day, as it's always a good day when I learn something new. On the other hand, the Ohio train derailment shows that the stakes of catastrophe are high, even if the odds of an incident are comparatively low. The industry can certainly use more regulation and oversight. Safety first, not fourth. Finally, the Thomas the Tank Engine parody at the end was spot on, if even darker than the original.

Stay tuned for Gingerbread House Day. The winter holidays continue!

No comments:

Post a Comment